Doctors at Bryan Medical Center Seeing More "Long-Hauler" COVID Patients

March 11, 2021, 6:46 p.m. ·

Dr. Matt Maslonka at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln. (Image from Facebook Live)

Doctors at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln are seeing fewer COVID-19 patients in-house, but they're also treating more on an out-patient basis who are experiencing the lingering effects of the disease. The so-called “long-haulers” can’t seem to shake symptoms, even months after they had the virus.

"The most common symptoms of what I’ll refer to as post-COVID syndrome include fatigue and it is referred to as an overwhelming fatigue,” Dr. Matt Maslonka, a critical care physician at Bryan Medical Center said. “One patient described it to me as it was like he ran a mile, all day long, without stopping. And another common associated symptom is shortness of breath and this is particularly with exertion, but can be with even minimal exertion.”

Maslonka said other “long-haulers” experience lingering muscle aches and memory loss. He said although there are no therapeutics for the illness, there is rehabilitation available.

“We already have those in place that were set-up to treat typically non-COVID related issues, like COPD or heart failure with pulmonary rehabilitation,” Maslonka said. “I like to describe it as it’s physical therapy for the lungs.”

He said a few months ago, Bryan was treating 160 patients in the intensive care unit for COVID-19. Now that number is 20 patients and he’s optimistic the vaccines will continue to help slow the pandemic.